The demonstrators, a number of them in costumes, demanded that the international aerospace firm “transition to peaceful production which will benefit humanity” instead of building weapons systems.
Weapons like its NLAW anti-tank bazooka and Starstreak anti-aircraft missile are built in Belfast – and thousands of NLAWs have been sent to Ukrainian fighters by the UK government, which also plans to send Starstreak missiles too.
In a press release, the protestors said: “The ludicrous nature of the arms trade is demonstrated by the fact Thales is ‘fighting on both sides’ in the war on Ukraine.
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“Anti-tank weapons from Thales are used by Ukraine while Russia has bomb targetting equipment from Thales in their war planes.”
This appears to be a reference to something called the Thales Damocles Targeting Pod, a laser-based aiming system for fighter jets.
At least three different aerospace-related websites say that Russia has used Damocles pods for its aircraft (Times Aerospace, Flight Global, and Air Recognition) – and Thales itself says the system is “currently in service” with the SU-30 jet, a Russian fighter plane.
Thales has also had civil aircraft dealings with Russia, providing electronics equipment for passenger jets.
The protest was organised by two groups – one called Irish Network for Nonviolent Action Training and Education, and another called Swords to Ploughshares.
Thales said: “[We have] always operated in strict compliance with French and international regulations, including the European sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014.”
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